February 1, 2018
Learn how provincial and territorial governments can control prices of higher alcohol content beverages to support reduced consumption
Inside this alcohol policy pack
- Background evidence: Alcohol and cancer
- Evidence-informed alcohol policy actions to reduce alcohol consumption in Canada
- Key statistics: Alcohol consumption in Canada’s largest cities
- Key statistics: Alcohol consumption in provinces and territories
- Public perceptions: Alcohol and cancer
- Economic evidence to support alcohol policy
- Indicators to measure progress on alcohol policy
Disincentive pricing for higher alcohol content beverages
Use pricing policies such as excise tax increases on alcoholic beverages1,2,3,4
Adopt disincentive pricing policies for higher alcohol content beverages3,4
Degree of adoption in Canada
Current actions in Canada
Adoption of evidence-informed policy action related to disincentive-pricing policies for higher alcohol content beverages across Canada is low. Some provinces have volumetric pricing policies in place that increase the price of alcohol based on the amount purchased.
Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan must increase or decrease the price of alcohol served in licensed establishments in proportion to the difference between the volume of alcohol in the serving and the volume outlined by minimum pricing policies of standard drink sizes.
New Brunswick prices alcohol on a per ounce basis, and Alberta prices beer on a per ounce basis, causing the drink price to increase in proportion to the amount served. In addition, Ontario has volumetric pricing for the sale of alcohol in retail establishments and has implemented additional taxes on beer, wine and spirits which are based on the amount purchased.
No territories have volumetric pricing in place.
1- World Cancer Research Fund International (2009). Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention. Retrieved from: http://www.wcrf.org/sites/default/files/Policy_Report.pdf
2- World Health Organization (2013). Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases. Retrieved from:
3- Cancer Care Ontario (2016). Prevention System Quality Index. Retrieved from: https://www.cancercareontario.ca/en/statistical-reports/prevention-system-quality-index
4- Public Health Ontario/Cancer Care Ontario (2012). Taking Action to Prevent Chronic Disease. Retrieved from: https://www.ccohealth.ca/en/report-taking-action-to-prevent-chronic-disease